NIH testing new blood-based COVID-19 treatment

The National Institutes of Health has begun studying remdesivir in combination with a highly concentrated solution of COVID-19 antibodies to see if it can reduce the risk of patients developing more serious illness. 

The solution is called anti-coronavirus hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin, or hIVIG. It's a more-concentrated convalescent plasma that contains several times the amount of antibodies than are typically found in the plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19, the NIH said. 

Anti-coronavirus hIVIG may be a more sustainable treatment for COVID-19 patients, as convalescent plasma must be used within 24 hours, whereas anti-coronavirus hIVIG can be stored for as long as three years, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The trial will test whether giving people the anti-coronavirus hIVIG at the onset of symptoms, before the body makes a protective immune response on its own, could reduce the risk of a more serious case of COVID-19 or death. 

The phase 3 study is taking place in hospitalized adults in the U.S., Mexico and 16 other countries. It will enroll 500 adults who have had COVID-19 symptoms for 13 days or fewer and who don't have life-threatening organ dysfunction or organ failure. 

Four companies are collaborating to provide the anti-coronavirus hIVIG for the trial: Emergent Biosolutions, Grifols, CSL Behring and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

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